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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

March 16 to March 23, 2018

Personal Floatation Device (PFD) law: As a reminder, between November 1 and May 1, anyone underway in a boat (less than 21 feet long) must wear a securely fastened PFD. This includes canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats.

Lake Erie Tributaries & Harbors

Despite the recent cold temperatures, all Lake Erie tributaries remain wide open. The small to medium sized stream have moderate to lower flows, with clearing conditions. Cattaraugus Creek is slightly high at 700 cubic feet per second, but certainly fishable. The overall steelhead bite has recently been fair. Target the deeper holes and drift offerings slow and low for best results. Look for improved fishing with the next thaw. See the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries for more information.

Trout fishing at Dunkirk Harbor pier is on hold as ice has returned.

Niagara River

The lower river trout bite was excellent at the start of the month. Action has slowed lately, coinciding with very clear water conditions. Steelhead and lake trout are still available, but are finicky. Walleye season is now closed as of March 16. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries

Lake Ontario stream conditions have been excellent lately. Eighteenmile Creek is in great shape with moderate flow and about two feet of visibility. The few anglers that have been fishing there lately, report decent catches of steelhead. Oak Orchard Creek currently has moderate flow and about 3 feet of visibility. The small to medium sized streams have moderate to slightly lower flow and range from slightly stained to clear. Fourmile, Twelvemile, East Branch Twelvemile, Keg, Johnson, Marsh and Sandy Creeks are all worth a shot. For those new to stream fishing for steelhead, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.

Cold temps and choppy waters have kept boaters off Lake Ontario lately. When conditions permit, brown trout are available in the nearshore zone in 8-20 feet of water. Key on areas near stream/harbor mouths, in murky waters or in areas with a slightly higher temperature. Trolling with small to medium sized stickbaits or spoons run behind planer boards is the top tactic. Lures run directly behind the boat get less trout attention.

Chautauqua Lake

We are in a transition period on Chautauqua Lake, as there are patches of open water and patches of ice. See the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Spring Trout Stocking

DEC Hatchery staff will begin stocking next week in preparation for the traditional April 1st trout opener. Thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout will be stocked in the region's streams, lakes and ponds. In, addition, many of the popular trout waters will also receive stockings of two-year-old brown trout that are between 12-15 inches long. For County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout to be stocked, see the Spring Trout Stocking 2018 page. Public Fishing Rights Maps showing public access on many trout streams are available for printing. Check back next Friday for a full list of western New York waters to be stocked prior to April 1st.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.